No. 8 Pacific Tigers (15-14, 6-12) vs. No. 9 Santa Clara Broncos (13-18, 6-12)
Date: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Location: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
Time: 8:30 PM PST
This Season: The two teams split their regular season games, with each team winning at home.
It is finally WCC tournament time, the moment fans of the conference have been waiting for all season. While I have only covered the conference in depth for about a year now, I will say that the WCC tournament was always something I looked forward to from a fans perspective.
The second of two opening round games matches up two charter members of the West Coast Conference – Santa Clara and Pacific – against each other. The winner would eventually take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs on 6 p.m. on Saturday.
With that being said, let the games begin.
Keys to the Game
It is time for the Broncos senior leader to step up, and Vegas would not be a bad time to do so.
Roquemore is coming off the bench, but is still considered one of the Broncos senior leaders and most talented players. His averages from last season have plummeted due to injuries, slumps and reduced playing time – making Roquemore’s senior season a bit of a disappointment.
However, as a last hurrah, Roquemore needs to make sure he leaves his mark on Vegas and the WCC tournament. The Broncos already possess a distinct advantage with guard play, and a solid performance from Roquemore could expose it even more.
Pacific possesses something that many college basketball teams just do not have. That is experience, which comes in the form of seven seniors.
While it has been a trying season for the Tigers at times, they have been able to rely on their seniors to lift them out of slumps all season long.
Tony Gill, Ross Rivera, Andrew Bock, Sama Taku, Khalil Kelley, Tim Thomas, and Trevin Harris (although he is unlikely to play due to a shoulder injury) are the leaders of this team, and will need to exemplify what it means to be a true leader in order for the Tigers to survive and advance.
Santa Clara looked as good as they have all season in their win at Pepperdine last Saturday, with Jared Brownridge setting records all over the plac. Pacific is in the same boat, as the Tigers sneaked away with a victory over Portland to bump the Pilots off as a six seed and down to a seven.
Guard play is crucial in postseason play, and while Bock, Taku and T.J. Wallace are all more than capable of taking over the game, Santa Clara backcourt is more seasoned and talented. That is the deciding factor in this game. Santa Clara 77, Pacific 74.